How To Remove Spyware From Your Phone And Protect Your Privacy

security

This guest post was submitted by Adam Ferraresi.

Smartphones have become very popular nowadays to the point that nearly everyone is using them, or is at least planning to replace their ancient phone with an Android phone or an iPhone. They’re very useful little devices that can perform a variety of functions, and a lot of us cannot imagine our lives without one anymore.

The problem is that, because of their rising popularity, smartphones are susceptible to various malware and spyware, coded specifically to mess up your phone and in many cases, render it totally unusable. Chances are that, if you’ve had a smartphone for some time, you’ve had an encounter with a malicious application (that you perhaps had no idea was malicious at all) mercilessly embedding itself in your phone until what you’re left with is a sluggish, non-responsive device.

If you’re in a similar situation right now, fret not – there are ways to treat your phone in the event that it’s been contaminated with malicious software. Depending on how bad the malware is, there are a couple of things you can do.

Factory Reset

The worst-case scenario is that your phone has become so sluggish that installing any type of anti-malware is already impossible, or would just take too long. If you’ve backed up your data, you can try to perform a factory reset. This wipes all of the data in your phone memory, deletes all your apps and restores the phone to its factory state.

This is by far the most powerful efficient way to fix your phone, but it comes at a cost; all of your personal settings, files and contacts (always, always back up your contacts somehow) will be lost. Be sure to dump all you need on your external memory card, as everything on there will remain intact. That also means, however, that any malicious software on the card isn’t going anywhere either.

So to prevent another infection, you should probably take your card, stick into an SD adapter and backup all your essentials (photos, music, etc.) to a computer with an anti-virus on it, then format it. That way you’re sure that no malicious software can survive.

Installing an Anti-Virus app

There are plenty of great anti-malware applications in your Store, so if your phone is still functional enough for you to access the Store, you can try downloading an app such as Lookout Mobile Security and letting it clean your phone up.

If the app fixed took care of the infection, don’t remove it from your phone. For some reason, most smartphones don’t come with any kind of pre-installed anti-virus software, so they’re very vulnerable to all kinds of malicious files if you don’t have at least some kind of protection.

Here are a couple of great anti-virus apps that you can use if you’re having trouble with malware:

1. McAfee Mobile Security

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McAfee is one of the most popular anti-virus apps out there, and with good reason. This app will scan your SD card, files, apps and even your text messages for malicious code and protect you in advance, so that malware cannot harm you. In addition, it will block your browser from accessing high-risk, untrusted websites, whether you receive the link through a QR code, online or via text message. If you suspect that an application might be malicious or that it is sharing private information, you can use McAfee to block it completely.

This app detects a whopping 99.5 percent of malware samples, which means that there are truly few viruses that can slip by. It’s a bit more pricey than some of its competitors, though, but definitely worth it if you want some high-grade protection.

2. Norton Mobile Security

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A downright solid anti-virus app, coming from one of the greatest anti-virus software providers of all time. Apart from the top-notch protection, this software also offers a remote device locking feature (useful if your phone happens to get stolen) and an alarm system that can be used to locate and retrieve missing devices. There’s even an option to lock the device if the SIM card is switched. In other words, this app doesn’t only protect you from malware, but also has a very sophisticated anti-theft system, the likes of which we’ve yet to see in other apps.

Version 3.8 of Norton Mobile Security was tested for malware detection and came through with an amazing 99.7 percent rate, which is a whole 2.1 percent higher than the industry standard.

3. Lookout Mobile Security

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There’s a reason why this app is a favorite among 80 million smartphone users. It’s efficient, fast and has a variety of very cool security and anti-theft features.

This app automatically backs up all of your contacts and data such as photographs, and even goes so far as to save your phone’s location just before the battery drains completely. Remote access to your phone is possible via their website and all of your location data is stored there in the event that you lose your phone or have it stolen.

With the Premium version, you get up to 2 GB of storage for your backups and access to their Safe Browser that prevents you from accessing malicious links that would potentially install malware on your device.

Browse More Carefully Next Time

Now that you’ve taken care of your malware problem and installed a good anti-virus app, you might be interested to know what additional steps you can take to prevent your phone from being infected at all. Preventing a virus attack before it actually happens can save you a lot of grief, so listen carefully.

Quite frankly, websites can be very deceiving, especially questionable ones such as torrent/pornographic sites. Big, green download buttons that lead to .exe files are almost certainly adware or malware. And let’s face it, you’re probably not the one millionth visitor of that same shady website, so stay away from those shiny flickering banners. Seriously, though, taking care which links and e-mails you open and which you stay away from is the best and easiest way to protect yourself, and malicious links are usually very easy to spot if you’re careful.

Summary

Smartphones are certainly a tricky lot. While they’re very useful in our everyday lives, getting them to recover from a bad virus infection can be a real hassle. Always remember to frequently backup all of your important data so that you can do a proper factory reset if need be, and do be careful what kinds of links you click online. If you expected a .jpg file from a link and got an .exe file instead, do not download it – you’ll seriously save yourself a lot of grief.

adam-ferraresiAdam Ferraresi (23, Dallas, TX) knew that everything connected to the internet was always appealing to him, which is why he opted out for a career of web developer. He’s been rather successful in his endeavors, so he can offer great insight in the world of internet through his articles published at wefollowtech.com.